Here we present unique perspectives from undergraduate students (n=3) in STEM who have taken both a traditional laboratory iteration and a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) iteration of the same introductory chemistry course. CUREs can be effective models for integrating research in courses and fostering student learning gains. Via phenomenological interviews, we asked students to describe the differences in their perspectives, feelings, and experiences between a traditional lab guided by a lab manual and a CURE. We found that (i.) critical thinking/problem solving, (ii.) group work/collaboration, (iii.) student-led research questions and activities, and (iv.) time management are the top four emergent themes associated with the CURE course. Students also indicated that they learned more disciplinary content in the CURE, and, importantly, that they prefer it over the traditional lab. These findings add another dimension of success to CUREs in STEM education, particularly surrounding student retention.
STEM undergraduate education, best practices, transmittal lecture, discipline-based education research, phenomenological theoretical framework
We would like to thank Dr. Josh Darr, Dr. JJ Conrad, Dr. Alan Gift, Nikolaus Stevenson, and Amanda Shultz for their thoughts and contributions to data collection. Additionally, we would like to acknowledge the Nebraska University Foundation, Dr. George Haddix, and the University of Nebraska at Omaha Community of Practice support from the Center for Faculty Excellence (Dr. Karen Hein) for the support of this project.
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Recommended APA Citation
Sommers, A. S., Richter-Egger, D., & Cutucache, C. E. (2021). A Composite Textual Phenomenological Approach to CUREs versus Traditional Laboratory Experiences. The Qualitative Report, 26(2), 507-524. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2021.4454